Finding The Zen In Writing

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood…

When I decided to start yet another blog, I struggled to find a name for it. My first blog, Suburban Sirens, was created when I decided that my 8-year hiatus from writing needed to end. The name was appropriate both as the Siren song that was calling suburban-mom me back to writing, as well as the sirens I fully expected to hear as a white van with barred windows pulled up in front of my suburban house to take me to a place with padded walls where I could continue to bang my head in peace. Eventually, though, I rationalized myself out of writing by concluding I was too busy. My posts became more and more sporadic, and the Sirens stopped beckoning.

My next blog was called Moms Into Adventure. It was devised as a vehicle to report on the many adventures in parenting and life that I planned to take on in an effort to transform my midlife crisis into a midlife free-for-all. From a Polar Plunge to adventure races to a burlesque class I felt I needed to take, I went out and tried new things and I wrote about them. It was fun for a while, and then I just got dog tired of coming up with adventures. It was exhausting being a human doing rather than a human being.

As the end of the year approached last year and I realized I was running out of money for adventures I would love to write about, I decided it was time to go in another direction. Perhaps the third time would be the charm? My previous two blogs had fizzled largely because I’d been unwilling to commit to a publishing schedule. So, I offered myself a challenge to write for 366 consecutive days. I’d been reading Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now and A New Earth. I found myself looking to become more grounded and reflective. I wanted to stop focusing on my next adventure and learn to enjoy the present moment, a task which has never been easy for me. I figured I needed to live in the now and try to find my zen. I also acknowledged that I needed to live a little now and then. The two ideas merged and thus was born Live Now and Zen, the perfect balance of my previous two blogs.

As I’m on day 318 of 366, I’m starting to reflect on where I’ve come from and where I’m going with my writing. I’ve learned a great deal about myself as a writer and as a person through my posts here. I think writing daily for nearly a year has forced me to accept my voice for what it is. I’ve had to determine what kind of writer I am. That writer, I’ve learned, is honest. I’ve learned that sometimes what I think is my best work impacts no one and something I feel was a waste of my time touches many. You never know what people might relate to. I’ve learned that some days I write schlock, and that’s okay. It happens. The mere act of writing is more important than the creation of a beautiful work of art. From continued practice comes growth, and while sitting around waiting for the idea the only thing you grow is moldy and stale. Sometimes it’s more important simply to show up. And, I’ve learned that it’s okay not to have millions of readers. Writing something that impacts one other person is more than enough.

I started to write this blog as a means to find the zen in my life, but I’m not sure that I’m any closer to achieving that than I was 300+ days ago. I still get aggravated, lose my temper with my children, and swear at idiot drivers. Now, though, I have a daily outlet for all that emotion. And while I’m no more zen in my life, I have become more zen about writing. This is not the zen I was looking for, but it’s what I needed. Writing is my thing. When I don’t write, I lose something of myself. So, I’m learning to write and I’m practicing. On day 367, I might take a day off for good behavior and to celebrate my achievement, but then it’s right back to it because writing is what I do…whether or not I do it well.

8 comments

  1. It is a privilege to be an ‘ear’ on your journey. (The beauty of being present in the moment is that it is always ‘now’ you never get there and after a while it doesn’t matter.)

  2. You may think you’re no more zen than you were 300+ days ago but the mere fact that you’re aware and trying is more than some people do. You serve as a reminder to me, too 🙂

  3. Remember your post about fate & coincidence?
    Funny, I’ve had a draft-in-progress for a week that talks about the development of Armchair Zen and merging its style with Rural Zen.
    The post includes a photo of a road with the caption “Frost’s Road”, and refers to the Rural Zen post “The Road Less Travelled”!
    It also includes (or did ’til I read your post), some photos of fall foliage, including a wall of yellow trees!
    Are you sure you didn’t peek?

    Paz

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